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Ruth Steinberger
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Animals and people suffer together in chronically poor communities. This can be changed.

Spay FIRST! provides concise information on an issue that can be solved through high quality prevention based programs. Alongside the people, in poor communities dogs and cats suffer without the basics. Stray dogs begging for food do not turn over the trash cans of the wealthy.

Spay FIRST! has chronicled the upsurge of spay/neuter movements as humane programs have increasingly replaced gruesome and ineffective dog round-ups or cullings with prevention based programs that improve life for everyone.

Human health is tied inextricably to the animals around us. For example, tens of thousands of people in chronically poor nations die of rabies each year and dogs are the vectors in over 98 percent of these cases. The simple idea of a ‘pet’ is out of range for most families worldwide while having a ‘home’ is a luxury bestowed on fewer than 25 percent of all dogs.

This is changing and Spay FIRST! can tell us how to help.
Spay FIRST! founder Ruth Steinberger was a presenter at the 2012 First International Conference on Dog Population Management sponsored by World Health Organization (OIE) and on the 2012 World Rabies Day two-day webinar.

She has worked in this field for over two decades, chronicling the lives of dogs and cats in chronic poverty and how simple solutions can change those lives.

Her program serving tribal lands in the U.S. was the first grass roots spay/neuter program to be sponsored by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and she was the 2006 recipient of the prestigious ASPCA Henry Bergh Award for activism.

Entries by Ruth Steinberger

Spay Cats by Five Months to Save More Lives

(1) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 1:42 AM

A project in northern Maine that encouraged pet owners to get their cats spayed by five months of age, instead of waiting until the traditional six months of age to have "pets" altered, proved that it is possible to reduce shelter intakes and save lives while not spending a penny...

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Science and Compassion Are Needed to Halt Animal Suffering

(26) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 2:32 PM

An estimated 500 to 700 million dogs exist worldwide. According to a video from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust of the UK, three quarters of them live on the streets of impoverished communities. Their life expectancy is just three years; the suffering is horrific, and the...

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Celebrate Spay Month Throughout the Year

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 5:31 PM

February is National Prevent a Litter Month.

For over a decade animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and grass roots activists worldwide have sponsored educational events, discounted and free surgeries, petition drives and letter writing campaigns throughout the month in order to publicize the issue of pet overpopulation....

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Preventing Animal Suffering Reaches Many Lives

(11) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 4:09 PM

A community is an extended family, a social ecosystem that includes both our environment and our relationship to all those around us, human and non-human alike. When any member of this family suffers neglect, all members are diminished and the community as a whole is harmed.

Consider the case of...

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Being Born as a Surplus Pet Is a Predictor of Shelter Relinquishment

(5) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 12:19 PM

Our nation has long had a love affair with "pets" or "companion animals" -- dogs, cats, rabbits and other cute critters. But while we seem to value our relationships with the animals that share our homes, we're fickle.

The seemingly beloved and pampered pet of today may be the...

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Animal Shelter Numbers Tell Only a Part of the Story

(21) Comments | Posted February 8, 2013 | 3:34 PM

The problem of homelessness in America is cause for alarm -- and for action. Most of us are aware of the distressing reality of homelessness faced every day by millions of our fellow citizens -- war veterans, the mentally ill, children, families, the working poor. Far fewer are aware of...

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Spay/neuter Ordinances Should Be Adopted Nationwide

(15) Comments | Posted December 31, 2012 | 12:45 PM

The hidden costs of pet overpopulation make the expansion of affordable spay/neuter services into an ethical and financial imperative. Sadly it is still lagging throughout much of the U.S.

In poverty, people and the companion animals around them suffer together. It's a tragedy intertwined between dogs and cats and...

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Thinking of Adopting a Pet for the Holidays?

(4) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 5:15 PM

During the holidays, our hearts go out to those who are less fortunate; we may decide to become part of charitable endeavors to help people, the environment or unwanted animals. While we strategize ways to prevent the births of unwanted pets through targeted spay/neuter programs, this is a time during...

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Making the Case for Municipal Spay/Neuter Programs

(10) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 9:01 AM

You've heard the expression "It's raining cats and dogs." Well, in many communities throughout the U.S., that rain is a continual flood of tragedy that holds devastating economic and social costs. The problem of too many dogs and cats, commonly called pet overpopulation, overwhelmingly occurs in, and takes its toll...

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